Taliban Captures 150 Afghan Soldiers Who Tried to Flee the Country

190 captured overall in Badghis Province fighting

In what is clearly one of the most embarrassing setbacks in years for the Afghan government, a large number of Afghan Army soldiers were routed in Badghis Province in a Taliban offensive, badly enough that they tried to flee the country.

With 40 soldiers already captured, another 150 crossed the border into neighboring Turkmenistan. This attempt to get away failed, as the Taliban chased them across the border into the neighboring country, capturing them and bringing them back to Afghanistan.

All told, the Taliban had killed 16 soldiers and captured 190, by far the largest number of soldiers captured in the entire 18-year war. Afghan forces say the border district has not fallen yet, as other troops still hold some government buildings there.

Still, the Afghan military is doing poorly when faced with direct fighting with the Taliban, and this is just another major public demonstration that Afghan government control exists only where the Taliban hasn’t significantly challenged it yet.

In recent fighting, there are fewer and fewer instances of the Taliban merely defeating an Afghan Army company, with many ending with bases falling to the Taliban, or companies being wiped out entirely. Though the Afghan Defense Ministry has tried to downplay this trend, it is clear that the war is not going in their favor.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for Antiwar.com. He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.